A ‘free’ mobile phone app is now available, bringing together historical facts and stories about the impact of the Sydney Jewish community.
Jews arrived in Australia with the first European settlers in 1788. This tour will give you a brief overview of the history of the Jews of Sydney and by following the stops of the app, you will get a glimpse into the lives and times of some of the Jews who contributed to the development of modern Australia.
To visit all 45 stops along the 5 kilometre (3 miles) route will take about three hours of comfortable walking and, as it is a circular route, you can start and stop at any point.
Explore Jewish Sydney on foot
Among the convicts in the First Fleet there were a number of Jews; with a degree of certainty there were eight Jews in the First Fleet and possibly there were up to sixteen. Notable amongst these Jewish convicts was Esther Abrahams who eventually married Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnston who briefly was Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. It is estimated that of the convicts transported to New South Wales between 1788 and 1842, about 800 were Jewish.
Soon after the colony was established free settlers also began to arrive in the colony and from about 1828 there were several Jews amongst them. Together with emancipated Jewish convicts these Jewish free settlers founded the first Jewish community in Australia, initially with the formation of a Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) in 1817 and in 1832 land was allocated for a Jewish cemetery in Devonshire Street near the site of today’s Central railway.
The Jews of Sydney have made a significant contribution to the wider community and this phone app highlights a selection of sites that have been of significance in the development of the Sydney Jewish Community and the Jewish contribution to the broader Australian community.
Within the Sydney CBD there have been six synagogues. Commercially the Jews have played a significant role in the development of commerce within the city and politically there have been two Jewish Lord Mayors of Sydney. This app also visits the sites of some Jewish persona who might not be so praiseworthy: a bushranger, a member of the ‘razor gangs’ and some other characters of dubious reputations.
We welcome your feedback and trust that you will enjoy this historic walk.
Download a copy of our flyer here.